Speaker Interview: Avni Khatri

Avni Khatri bring Kids on Computers to SCALE 13x. His presentation, "Kids on Computers and Enabling Education through Technology," will be given on SCALE 13x Sunday at 1:30. The SCALE Team caught up with Avni.

Q: Could you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?


A: Hi, I'm Avni Khatri, and I'm currently based out of Boston. I am a Program Manager at the Lab of Computer Science at Massachusetts General Hospital in the Knowledge and Learning Technologies Group. We provide technical solutions using open source software and hardware. For the last five years, I've also volunteered with Kids on Computers, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that sets up computer labs in areas where kids have no other access to technology. I've served as president the last two years. I'm passionate about open source, education, technology, and kids.


Q: You're giving a talk on Kids on Computers and Enabling Education through Technology. Without tipping your hand on the actual talk, can you give us an idea of what we might expect?


A: I am so excited that Kids on Computers (KOC) is going to be at SCALE this year. We have 6 KOC volunteers slated to be at SCALE and we are concurrently hosting our first ever KOC Summit there as well. Five of us will be part of the talk which will be a panel format. We'll talk about how KOC got started, discuss our individual experiences with KOC, what setting up a computer lab in a rural area is like, our current KOC projects, and upcoming trips.


Q: What is the KOC Summit?


A: The KOC Summit is a semi-formal set of meetings and events where KOC volunteers and others will get together to define our 2015 goals, do some planning for our Mexico trip, and work on overhauling our web site. We're also going to be at Booth #22 in the Expo Hall. You can find the up-to-date agenda here: http://wiki.kidsoncomputers.org/index.php?title=KOC_Summit_2015 Please visit our booth and we'd love to have new folks join us for any of these events!


Q: Is this your first visit to SCALE? If so, what are your expectations? If not, can you give us your impressions of the event?


A: This is my second visit to SCALE, but the first time I'll be there for the full conference. I haven't been in 10 years, iirc. Ilan and Gareth have asked for KOC to come to SCALE the last three years, so I'm glad we're finally making it happen. The conference has been extremely supportive of our efforts. I'm looking forward to learning a lot and meeting cool, new folks.


[SCALE Team interview by Hannah Anderson]